Consumers Association of Penang

Giving voice to the little people...since 1970

Resolve widening income disparity gap now

rich-poor-contrastThe difference between what the rich and the poor earn (the income disparity gap) remains wide and needs the government’s urgent attention.

In a fair and just society, economic growth should benefit everyone.  Unfortunately this is not happening in Malaysia in spite of years of economic growth. We have now an aristocracy of wealth where a small group of Malaysians are very rich (22 billionaires at the last count) whilst many others are barely scrapping by. We have on one hand people living in spacious multi-million ringgit homes whilst on the other hand there can be as many as 21 people crammed together  in a low cost flat.

Why we need to support Palestine

The Israeli slaughter, hijacking and abduction of passengers of a humanitarian flotilla bound for Gaza with Malaysians on board, is a grim and timely reminder to all Malaysians that Israel does this with impunity, in absolute defiance of international law and in complete contempt of world public opinion.

Ramadhan not a tourist product

The Consumers’ Association of Penang feels  outraged by  the statement of the Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Ng Yen Yen that Malaysia is going to have “the first ever Ramadhan Summer Festival featuring food, shopping and other fun-filled activities” to attract Middle Eastern tourists during the Ramadhan month in August.

Public should support measures to reduce subsidies

The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) supports the Government’s initiative to reduce its subsidy bill of RM74 billion in 2009, which is more than its development expenditure of RM51.2 billion in 2010.

Of concern here is the long term survival of the country.  If we do not act now to reduce this massive bill, we will pay dearly for it in the near future. Subsidies should therefore only continue to be available to the needy.

However the aim of the removal of subsidies should not be solely to reduce the budget deficit.  Removal of subsidies should be part of a comprehensive plan on national financial management whereby eliminating wastage and corruption also plays equally important roles. 

What is trade justice?

The right to choose trade policies

Poor people have the right to benefit from trade. Poor countries must be able to choose economic policies, including trade policies that work to reduce poverty. They need the freedom to help support and protect their vulnerable enterprises and traders in the most appropriate way. These policies should not be based on the `advice' of the rich. They should be decided by the communities affected, based on evidence and experience and suited to the local context.

This is Trade justice - governments choosing and designing their own trade policies to reduce poverty.